California 5-Year-Old Became Paralyzed After Doing Backbend, Says Mother

March 15, 2016 Updated: January 4, 2018
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A five-year-old girl has been left paralyzed after doing a backbend on her living room floor in California.

Eden Hoelscher couldn’t move after doing the backbend at her home in Palos Verdes Peninsula just before Christmas.

“I feel like my feet are sleeping,” she told her mom Kylee, according to the family’s GoFundMe page.

Kylee rushed Eden to the hospital, where they learned that the backbend—which she had done hundreds of times before—had hyperextended her spine and caused the artery that feeds her spinal cord to stop pumping blood, causing a stroke in the cord.

“In one instant, that backbend altered our lives forever,” wrote Kylee on the fundraising platform.

“Eden is now in a wheelchair. She lost the ability to sit up on her own. Her bowels and bladder do not work. We have to wake up twice a night to move her so she won’t get pressure sores from sleeping in one position too long. She also must remember to do pressure relief exercises every fifteen minutes she is in her wheelchair to protect her skin. She cannot regulate her temperature so we have to watch her for signs of her getting too hot or too cold. She cannot reach a sink to wash her hands or brush her teeth. Our bathrooms are not equipped for her to easily shower or bathe. The list of what she now cannot do could span pages.”

But the five-year-old has maintained her bubbly demeanor and loves to charm the nurses at the hospital.

“One thing that’s amazing about Eden is she has not changed throughout this whole ordeal,” her mother told ABC News.

“She’s still her same laughing, giggly, silly self. She wins over the heart of everyone she knows. It’s amazing that her spirit has completely gone unchanged. The doctor said that’s one of the things she has going for her. In physical therapy, she won’t cry or get mad, she’ll just try as hard as she can.”

Eden’s neurological physical therapist, Julie Hershberg, of [re+active] physical therapy & wellness in Los Angeles, said the injury and the way it happened still can’t be fully explained by doctors.

“It’s just one of those enigmas,” she said. “[Eden], she is a tough little girl full of a lot of fight and determination. Kids could be hard to keep on task and focused, but she is probably the hardest working child or adult I’ve ever worked with … I think that’s going to go a long way in her recovery. She just blows me away.”

The family is still hoping that Eden can at least partially recover, and the little girl is working hard. As Kylee said, “If anyone can recover from this, it’s Eden.”

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